Introduction to the special issue on submarine geohazard records and potential seafloor instability

  • Author(s): Song-Chuen Chen and Jia-Jyun Dong
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2017.11.27.01
  • Keywords: Submarine landslide, Kaoping Canyon, Southwest Taiwan, Northeast Taiwan
  • Citation: Chen, S.-C. and J.-J. Dong, 2018: Introduction to the special issue on submarine geohazard records and potential seafloor instability. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 29, 1-6, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2017.11.27.01

Submarine landslides frequently occur in passive continental margins or active margins (Hampton et al. 1996; Wynn et al. 2000; Mienert et al. 2002; Korup et al. 2007; Twichell et al. 2009; Cukur et al. 2016). Submarine landslides have been studied extensively not only for scientific research but also for submarine geohazards. Submarine landslides could jeopardize marine infrastructures, such as offshore drilling platforms or submarine telecommunication cables, and could even trigger disastrous tsunamis (Bondevik et al. 2005; Harbitz et al. 2006; Hornbach et al. 2007, 2008; Hsu et al. 2008; Su et al. 2012; Tappin et al. 2014; Li et al. 2015). For instance, one disastrous tsunami hitting the coastal area of southwestern Taiwan in 1781 or 1782, was reported (Chen 1830; Hsu 1983); the tsunami event was probably generated by submarine landslides in the offshore area of southwestern Taiwan (Li et al. 2015). Moreover, several submarine landslides triggered by the 2006 Pingtung earthquake have induced turbidity currents off southwest Taiwan and destroyed about 14 submarine telecommunication cables off SW Taiwan (Hsu et al. 2008). The area of southwest Taiwan currently has a dense population (more than 3 million people in total), one deep-water Kaohsiung Port, several tanks of liquefied natural gas and a nuclear power plant on the coast (Fig. 1). Numerous submarine telecommunication cables exist off SW Taiwan. If a considerable tsunami event would hit again the costal area of SW Taiwan, the damage could very serious. Likewise, there are two nuclear power plants on the coast of northern Taiwan (Fig. 2), and the population in northern Taiwan has more than 10 million people. Submarine telecommunication cables also exist off northern Taiwan.

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